The preparation for the birth of your child comes in all shapes and sizes, from buying baby clothes, setting up the nursery and making sure that you have everything you need when they finally make an appearance.
Your partner will more than likely be packing a birth bag, deciding on the essentials that are required during the labour and following the birth, if you are having a hospital birth. However, as the other half of the parenting team and as someone who may be attending the labour as birth partner, it is also important for dad to pack some essentials and prepare for what sometimes can be a long process.
Therefore, here are a few ideas that could make your time more comfortable and ensure you have everything you need to provide the best support possible;
1. Spare Clothes
Depending on your length of stay, you may feel that wearing the same clothes over an extended labour may not leave you feeling your best, so packing a few changes of tops, underwear and socks can really help keep you fresh.
Along with clothes, another essential to keeping yourself fresh and feeling human is toiletries. Some face and body wash, deodorant and toothbrush will keep you from suffering the effects of an extended time away from home.
Money can be essential. Sorting out the parking meter, getting a hot drink, picking up additional snacks or items that you haven’t packed, or buying something for your partner after the birth like flowers, are but a few things that may crop up and without a bit of cash to hand, could leave you stumped.
4. Food and water
Your partner will need to keep her strength up and food and water is vital to making sure her body has what it need for the task ahead. However, as the birth partner, it’s important not to forget about yourself. When the birth starts, it is easy to focus on her and lose track of everything else, so keeping yourself fed and hydrated will ensure that you are fuelled for your role and can give all you’ve got.
The labour process can be a long one. Your partner may need to rest in the early stages and build up her energy. In that time, you don’t have much to do, so taking some entertainment in the form of a book, or music can help you relax and have a bit of time to yourself before the main event.
6. Camera/camera phone
If you are wanting to document the birth, then bring along a camera or your mobile phone with camera facilities. The event will fly by and you will more than likely get caught up in the rush and adrenaline, so taking a few photos will enable you to look back together once baby is born and share the moment.
7. Mobile phone charger
As the father you will have a few obligations to keep friends and family informed of the progress and maintaining contact with anyone your partner needs. Therefore, taking your mobile phone will ensure that you can reach whomever you need with having to wander too far for a pay phone.
Your partner will have the option of pain relief if she feel that the pain is getting too much for her. You on the other hand, will not and therefore bringing along some painkillers in the event of a headache hitting halfway through labour, is a good way to help you keep focused and pain free.
9. Additional baby things
Between you and your partner you will have packed some essentials for your baby when they are born and these normally take up a bag of their very own. Sometimes though, there may be some overspill and your role will mean know where things are when your partner is resting post birth or is not focused due to the task she has just undergone.
10. Copy of the birth plan
Not everything always goes to plan, but packing a copy of the birth plan and being fully aware of how you both want the birth to proceed and the choices you made, is important when it all progresses. Depending on the amount of time you are both in labour, you may see a changing of staff and then as birth partner, it’s your job to make sure that everybody is aware and carries out your wishes. Even if things changes, having it to hand will enable you to help make informed choices that fit you both.
There will be other things that spring to mind that are personal to you, but making a list and packing the essentials will help make this journey a smooth one. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup and so, looking after yourself will ultimately help you look after your partner.